I would rather not inundate the written airwaves with an extra column this week, but before the jerks who showed up with their AR-15 rifles in their ‘freedom’ cavalcade in Michigan inaugurate a national movement of freedom-loving jerks doing the same thing elsewhere, a few points need to be made.
What happened is a group calling itself the Michigan Liberty Militia helped organize a demonstration in East Lansing, protesting Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s lock-down order which drew fire from one of America’s staunchest freedom fighters, Rudy Giuliani, as well as from El Schmuck-o himself. The protest in East Lansing was the handiwork of the usual right-wing nut jobs who long ago took leave of even the most rational political beliefs, which of course gave the militia members an opportunity to parade around with their guns.
“We are just here to make sure that everyone has the right to assemble peacefully,” said one of the rifle-toting schmucks, who just to make sure that we all understand his devotion to civil rights, this idiot was wearing his MAGA hat. Exactly which group represented a threat to the demonstrators was never made clear, but no doubt we will soon see other such demonstrations of stupidity led by patriots like Cliven ‘let me tell you about your Negro’ Bundy’s sons. Remember when those morons made a ‘hard stand’ at the Malheur National Forest until the FBI wouldn’t let them get any more pizza delivered to their latter-day version of Valley Forge?
The point is that assault weapons have become a symbol of alt-right political activity in the same way that the ‘V for Victory’ sign became the New Left’s energizing symbol in the marches and demonstrations protesting the Viet Nam War. When the Nazis showed up in Charlottesville toting their AR’s and Trump couldn’t find a good reason to tell these douchebags to stay away, the AR as symbolizing ‘freedom’ and ‘defense against oppression’ began to move into the cultural and political mainstream and now is regularly toted around whenever any political rally promoting the alt-right agenda takes place. A whole bunch of these AR-loving guys showed up at Richmond back in January to protest a whole new tranche of gun laws. The only law that didn’t pass was the law banning AR’s; no doubt such a ban would have been considered a violation of free speech.
I want to refer everyone to an article about the cultural significance of assault rifles that was written by two criminologists in 2005 and can be downloaded here. One of the major findings in the research was that while youngsters rarely used assault rifles in the commission of crimes, the popular media – movies, music – is replete with endless depictions and verbal references to AR’s. If anything, the degree to which full-auto assault rifles have become a standard prop in just about every ‘action’ movie and video game has increased dramatically over the last several years.
The guys from the Michigan Liberty Militia may be, chronologically speaking, full-fledged adults, but the truth is that when it comes to understanding anything about politics, COVID-19 or anything else, they’re just a bunch of kids. Don’t believe me? Take a look at their Facebook page. The very first post is a quote from one of the biggest self-defense scam artists of all time – David Grossman – who runs something called the Killology Research Group which presents seminars on protecting schools and first responders from terrorist threats.
And let’s not forget that the upsurge in right-wing political activity pushing back against government attempts to enforce social distancing happens to be an organized, alt-right strategy being peddled by Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the MAGA crowd. You think this bunch isn’t the latest iteration of the Tea Party? Think again.
I’m not trying to find a reason to justify anyone who walks around toting an assault rifle in a public place. But I also don’t take these guys all that seriously because, when push comes to shove, these infantile idiots are much more prepared to shoot off their mouths than to shoot off their guns.
Please stay safe.